Travelling has become all too difficult.
Travelling has become all too difficult. istock

Travel ... you can keep it: OPINION

MY ABILITY to travel overseas has been severely curtailed in recent years because of a number of factors beyond my control.

Contracting Ross River fever was the start; one tiny mosquito bite back in 2013 was a life-changer.

Than my dog developed Addison's disease and as a result she doesn't cope well with stress. I try to reserve kennels for situations that are real obligations, and the thought of leaving her in one for weeks while I go off gallivanting in far-flung places is a bit too hard.

That may well change, but until then I am restricted to family celebrations and the odd visit to friends in the big smoke (which, frankly, I'm happy to do less and less frequently).

So now - with a little nostalgia - I look back on the days when I explored foreign shores but frankly, it's becoming so difficult to deal with the security restrictions necessarily placed on us, I can't say I miss it too much. And I've never been wealthy enough to head for the pointy end of a plane, so the first week of any overseas trip was usually spent wandering around feeling like a zombie; the possibility of sleeping aloft in an actual bed will forever elude me, sadly.

I did get an upgrade once flying to Bali because my companion was a frequent flier, but on the way home we were back in cattle class, with cornrowed yobs sleeping on the floor as their tans peeled off in the refrigerated air.

I survived a number of unpleasant situations abroad, almost all to do with heavy-handed customs and immigration officials (mostly in the US - and this was pre-9/11). I had a pair of sunglasses snatched off my face one time at LAX and was given a warning not to dare wear them again while entering the country as that was what drug addicts do. Really? I was just hiding the bags under my eyes - from the 13-hour flight - that were bigger than the carry-on I was dragging. Another year, same airport, and I went through customs with someone else's luggage (my fault).

Another memorable trip was to Canada with my 17-year-old son and his best mate; unbeknown to me they'd smoked pot in the bedroom the night before we left, with their suitcases open on the floor; the smell penetrated their clothing. The beagles pounced and I had to do some fast talking to get us through customs, then officials accused me of kidnapping a minor as he didn't have a letter from his parents saying he could travel. Yes, Ma'am, I kidnapped a teenager and forced him to snowboard in Whistler at great expense. As you do.

Come to think of it, I don't miss travelling one bit.

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